Quotations of Wisdom

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Václav Havel

There appear to be no integrating forces, no unified meaning, no true inner understanding of phenomena in our experience of the world. Experts can explain anything in the objective world to us, yet we understand our own lives less and less. In short, we live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain. [Q1803]


A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. [Q871]

Senator Paul Simon

I also came face to face with real people and real problems and it gradually occurred to me that these difficult human situations don't fit into neat order. [Q1827]

Alexander Fleming

One sometimes finds what one is not looking for. [Q314]

Thomas Paine

If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately. [Q266]

Mary McAleese

The extent to which all people in our society are made to count, and believe that they count, is not just a measure of decency; it makes sound economic sense. [Q456]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. [Q1082]

Edward de Bono

The reliance on goodwill works best in a small community where the majority have the same perceptions and values. Nor should we forget that 'inner feelings', 'truth', and 'rightness' may be no protection from the dangers of 'righteousness'. (from the book, I am right, you are wrong. pg 29). [Q2005]

John Mayer

Ladies, if you want to know the way to my heart... good spelling and good grammar, good punctuation, capitalize only where you are supposed to capitalize, it's done. [Q2077]

Wendell Berry

If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have ever prepared for war. [Q1335]

Lao Tzu

The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes. [Q2074]


All religions must be tolerated... for every man must get to heaven in his own way. [Q809]

Kevin Eubanks

If you do the right thing for the right reasons and you keep a cool head while doing it ... it will all work out. — Interview on NPR Talk of the Nation. [Q550]

Senator Paul Simon

The words of Jesus about helping the hungry, the naked, those in prison, and others desperate seem to me to ring true and are so contrary to the actions taken over the centuries by so many in the name of Jesus. [Q1700]

David S Allen

Discourse is viewed as necessary for citizens to come together and realize what problems they have in common without losing individual identity, to resist forces within society that seeks to divide people, and to begin treating others with respect and dignity. The democracy we live in today is fundamentally at odds with those beliefs. One only needs to listen to political talk shows in the United States to realize that concept such as understanding, respect, and civility are not central elements of political culture. Perhaps the never have been. But if we are serious about revitalizing public live in the United States, we have to give people a reason and opportunity to get involved. — Democracy, Inc — Introduction — Page 8. [Q239]

Richard P. Feynman

The old problems, such as the relation of science and religion, are still with us, and I believe present as difficult dilemmas as ever, but they are not often publicly discussed because of the limitations of specialization. [Q969]

Scott Nesler

Certainty needs not faith, doubt has faith of mistakes. [Q48]

Stanisław Jerzy Lec

The weakest link in a chain is the strongest because it can break it. [Q1736]

Carl Sagan

We are born to delight in this world. We are taught to distinguish our preconceptions from the truth. Then new worlds are discovered as we decipher the mysteries of the cosmos. Science is a collective enterprise that embraces many cultures and spans the generations in every age and sometimes in the most unlikely places there are those who wish with a great passion to understand the world. There is noway of knowing where the next discovery will come from. What dream of the minds eye will remake the world. — Cosmos [Q1238]

Caine and Master Kan

Master, do we seek victory in contention? Seek rather not to contend. But shall we not then be defeated? We know that where there is no contention, there is neither defeat nor victory. The supple willow does not contend against the storm, yet it survives. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q518]

Thomas Huxley

Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. [Q1051]

Swami Vivekananda

The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them. [Q1141]

Thomas Jefferson

Information is the currency of democracy. [Q494]

Adlai Stevenson III

While informative news programs often supported by foundations can be found on PBS, C-Span, BBC World and a few cable channels, television leaves most Americans uninformed or misinformed about public issues even as the world becomes a more complex and volatile place, the complexities of issues ever larger, requiring conscientious reporting, interpretation and honest gate keepers. [Q1858]

Margaret Mead

Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful. [Q951]

Woody Guthrie

Left wing, chicken wing, it don't make no difference to me. [Q354]


Every bad precedent originated as a justifiable measure. [Q437]

Václav Havel

I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions. [Q1746]

Wendell Berry

If you can control a people’s economy, you don’t need to worry about its politics; its politics have become irrelevant. [Q1330]

Albert Einstein

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. [Q482]


I am puzzled. — Master Po — That is the beginning of wisdom. — "Kung Fu" The Hoots 1973 Season 2, Episode 10 [Q596]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Controversy equalizes fools and wise men - and the fools know it. [Q1076]


I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding. [Q797]

Tim O'Reilly

Empowerment of individuals is a key part of what makes open source work, since in the end, innovations tend to come from small groups, not from large, structured efforts. [Q546]

Senator Paul Simon

In a presidential race, who is losing or gaining three points in the latest polls receives much more coverage than where the candidates stand on poverty or foreign policy. It is easy to cover the trivial. A drop in the polls will receive more attention than an in-depth speech on national health care. The average sound bite on network TV news for the Republican presidential primary of 1996 was 7.2 seconds. Almost half the second bites were less than five seconds. Try to say something of substance on any issue in 7.2 seconds! The media should be here not simply to make money, but also to serve, and that service can be improved. [Q1814]

Benjamin Franklin

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one. [Q30]

Margaret Mead

Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. [Q947]

Antonio Damasio

The autobiographical self is built on the basis of past memories and memories of the plans that we have made; it’s the lived past and the anticipated future. [Q1978]

Mohandas Gandhi

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. [Q33]

Senator Paul Simon

Attorney General James Austin of Massachusetts stood. He referred to blacks as "wild beast" and to the mob as men like the patriots who threw the tea overboard in the famed Boston Tea Party. (Meeting at Faneuil Hall in Boston regarding the death of Elijah Lovejoy.) [Q1891]

Charles Kuralt

I think all those people I did stories about measured their own success by the joy their work was giving them. [Q477]

Stephen Leacock

In ancient times they had no statistics so they had to fall back on lies. [Q364]

Edmund Burke

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. [Q1870]

William Hall

We go on and on about our differences. But, you know, our differences are less important than our similarities. People have a lot in common with one another, whether they see that or not. [Q1204]

John Maynard Keynes

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking. [Q37]

Robert J Gula

Men and woman may be rational animals, but they are not by nature reasoning animals. Careful and clear thinking requires a certain rigor; it is a skill, and, like all skills, it requires training, practice, and vigilance. [Q1183]

George Taylor

If this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet. [Q1603]

John Boyd Orr

Our civilization has evolved through the continuous adjustment of society to the stimulus of new knowledge. [Q1149]

John Steinbeck

No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself. [Q1370]

Dalai Lama

The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis. [Q544]


Courage stands halfway between cowardice and rashness, one of which is a lack, the other an excess of courage. [Q775]

George Berkeley

That one idea may suggest another to the mind, it will suffice that they have been observed to go together, without any demonstration of the necessity of their coexistence, or so much as knowing what it is that makes them so to coexist. [Q1441]

Sinclair Lewis

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. — Summarization of his book It Can't Happen Here. [Q658]

Senator Paul Simon

Those who practice rigidity and absolutism in the name of religion, whether simply by word or with arms, will not persuade. [Q1703]

Tom Stoppard

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. [Q2075]


To know nature is to put oneself in perfect harmony with the universe. Heaven and earth are one. So must we seek a discipline of mind and body within ourselves. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q522]

Václav Havel

Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity. [Q1748]

Russell Simmons

I'm not a politician. I only want to help relieve the suffering in communities, and I want to help people see their community in each other. [Q1310]

Edward de Bono

an intelligent person may use his or her thinking simply to defend a point of view. The more skilled the defense the less does that person ever see a need to explore the subject, listen to others or generate alternatives. This is poor thinking. (Edward de Bono, I am right, you are wrong, page 19) [Q1996]

Elbert Hubbart

Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you. [Q1385]

Loris Harrow

Notice what no one else notice, and you'll see what no one else knows, What you get is what you get, what you do with what you get, that's more the point. — City of Ember [Q296]

Master Po

Old Man, how is it that you hear these things? Young Man, how is it that you do not? — Kung Fu Television Series 1972 [Q510]


I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work. [Q885]

Sebastien Paquet

I learned from physics that it is often best not to rush in to solve a problem. The time you invest in really understanding a problem is typically given to you back several-fold: - It simplifies the problem at hand; - It creates new learning in your mind, which will make subsequent similar problems easier to tackle. Second, computer science taught me that there are many ways to skin a cat. Programming is essentially a communication challenge. It is about clarifying initially fuzzy concepts and relations and representing them in code. The way you do this determines how much or how little trouble you're setting yourself up for — From his blog What Physics and Computer Science Taught Me about Thinking [Q292]

Thomas Fuller

A good life is the only religion. [Q1526]

Dante Alighieri

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. [Q1514]

Jean-Paul Marat

God has always been hard on the poor. [Q1520]

Eric Raymond

Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter. [Q675]

Blaise Pascal

If man made himself the first object of study, he would see how incapable he is of going further. How can a part know the whole? [Q589]


Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully. [Q845]

L. Peter Deutsch

To iterate is human, to recurse divine. [Q676]

Albert Einstein

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in the United States is closely connected with this. [Q311]

J. William Fulbright

Our elected representatives ... study and analyze public attitude by sophisticated new techniques, but their purpose has little to do with leadership. ... Their purpose, it seems, is to discover what people want and fear and dislike, and then to identify themselves with those sentiments. They seek to discover which issues can be safely emphasized and which are more prudently avoided. This approach to politics is the opposite of leadership; it is followership, for purpose of self-advancement. ... [Q1821]


Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance. [Q802]


Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. [Q829]

Blaise Pascal

He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright. [Q587]

Albert Einstein

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. [Q372]

Stefan Zweig

Fate is never too generous even to its favorites. Rarely do the gods grant a mortal more than one immortal deed. [Q1299]

Oscar Wilde

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. [Q624]

Mustafa Kemal

We must liberate our concepts of justice, our laws and our legal institutions from the bonds which, even though they are incompatible with the needs of our century, still hold a tight grip on us. [Q1932]

Galileo Galilei

The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go. [Q941]

Walt Disney

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island. [Q1193]

Master Kan

Deal with evil through strength - but affirm the good in man through trust. In this way we are prepared for evil, but we encourage good. [Q68]

Wendell Berry

As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection. [Q1344]

Carl Sagan

Science and learning in general would preserve the privileged few, the vast population of the city had not the vaguest notion of the great discoveries being made within these walls ... The discovery in mechanics, say, or steam technology, many were applied to the perfection of weapons, to the encouragement of superstition, to the amusement of kings. Scientist never seemed to grasp the enormous potential of machines to free people from arduous and repetitive labor. The great intellectual achievements of antiquity had few practical applications. Science never captured the imagination of the multitude. There was no counter balance to stagnation, pessimism, the most abject surrender to mysticism. So when, at long last the mob came to burn the place down, there was noone to stop them. — Cosmos - (The fall of the of the great library of Alexandria) [Q1233]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality. [Q963]

Woodrow Wilson

Generally young men are regarded as radicals. This is a popular misconception. The most conservative persons I ever met are college undergraduates. The radicals are the men past middle life. [Q744]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer. [Q1079]

Bible - Matthew 7:2

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. [Q427]

Senator Paul Simon

The media often determine priorities for policymakers. If an issue gets big play it captures the attention of those who determine the course of a community, state, or nation; first, because the issue is in the news, it creates public attention and frequently concern; and second, because those in public life know that the oxygen of political survival is attention from the media, and the seldom expressed but widely understood maxim for officeholders is "If they're covering it, I'll comment on it." [Q1733]

Morihei Ueshiba

The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang. [Q582]

Bryant H. McGill

One column of truth cannot hold an institution of ideas from falling into ignorance. It is wiser that a person of prudence and purpose save his strength for battles that can be won. [Q716]

David Foster Wallace

For these cultures, getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire's still going. [Q982]

Thomas Mann

Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them. [Q1528]


Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. [Q882]

Galileo Galilei

It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment. [Q939]

Lisa Nesler

I have now discovered where children learn strategy, sharing, bargaining, bartering, sales, verbal, non-verbal, and social skills. It has very little to do with home life, and everything to do with the lunchroom. I witnessed bargaining and bartering while sitting silently at lunch in an elementary school. Had I not known better, I would have thought I was in Soulard Market on a Saturday morning. At least you know that when you send lunch to school. SOMEONE is eating it. And really, your kids DO eat....something....maybe Grace's PB & J, or Charlie's carrots. [Q1812]

Nikola Tesla

The scientists from Franklin to Morse were clear thinkers and did not produce erroneous theories. The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane. [Q1675]

Thomas Paine

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, … it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. [Q1228]

Zeno of Citium

Fate is the endless chain of causation, whereby things are; the reason or formula by which the world goes on. [Q1734]

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